Zadie Xa: The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell

Zadie Xa: The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell

3 August – 24 September 2017

Wednesdays – Sundays 11am – 5pm


Zadie Xa, The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell, 2017. Courtesy the artist


Visitors to Wandsworth Council’s Pump House Gallery can see the first major solo exhibition in the UK of Canadian artist Zadie Xa, who uses paint, textile, video and sound to tell her story.

Xa, who is based in London, exhibits The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell at Pump House Gallery from 3 August to 24 September, which tells the story of a displaced body’s journey and return to a ‘homeland’. The story of the protagonist’s search for belonging unfolds through the gallery, revealing a journey of excitement, rejection, and bewilderment…

In collaboration with PS/Y’s Hysteria programme, Xa uses moving-image, soundscapes, objects and textiles Zadie Xa interlaces imagined and learned Korean folklore in search of a space which explores how diasporic knowledge can be transformed into new realities. Filmic flashbacks, almost recognisable figures and looping dream states invite the audience to join Xa on a journey through her own memory, Korean cultural memory and future possible scenarios. Using the ritual of storytelling, rhythm, and repetition, the exhibition responds to a desire to reach states of true enlightenment.

In her work Zadie Xa interweaves fact with fiction, past with future, to explore identity, desire and personal fantasy. Through mysterious stories she seeks to create a space where we can reconsider notions of national identity, cultural ownership, and folkloric displacement. Employing painting, textile, video, and sound within her storytelling, Xa’s practice looks at performances where traditional cultural knowledge is passed between diasporic bodies.

This exhibition is part of PS/Y’s Hysteria programme and is curated by Mette Kjærgaard Præst in partnership with Pump House Gallery.

Hysteria is a combined arts programme inviting audiences to explore health and illness in contemporary society, focusing on issues of gender, race and cultural identity. The programme is delivered by PS/Y and takes place in partnership with organisations and institutions across London.

During the development of The Conch, Sea Urchin and Brass Bell Zadie Xa presented Basic Instructions B4 Leaving, as part of PS/Y’s Hysterical X, at Café OTO in December 2016.

The exhibition is supported by Wandsworth Council, Arts Council England, Canada Council for the Arts and Wellcome Trust.


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